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Archive for July, 2012

Hold close the beauty of each day

Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve taken on a new position as Business Development Manager for Strategic Incentive Solutions, a Canadian/US incentive and rewards marketing company. I’m pumped, I’m excited, I’m ready to rock and roll. I’m  ready to get out there and kick butt. But…

Having committed to this writing gig, I also acknowledge that I have to fine tune my time management. No longer can I devote my time soley to my writing, but allocate blocks of time to successfully work at both. Each is time consuming and comes with it’s own set of demands. As I dive into the sales pool again and surface, I know I have to stay motivated in each area in order to make them work. But how to accomplish that task?

Motivation is a funny thing. Typically, humans aren’t motivated to change unless given a reason – an incentive if you will. After all, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Well, you might want to fix it if the same old same old simply isn’t working for you any longer, or if there is an incentive to change or take action. For example, most people will motivate themselves to get up in the morning and go to work because the incentive of a pay cheque waits at the end of the week (or whatever pay period you have). Going to school? The obvious incentive is to gain education and thereby hopefully secure a good job in a field of interest, and get paid for it. What about writers who write a book, article or journal? Again, the motivation might lie in wanting to get paid for the work we do.

But there are other motivators and incentives, as well as the inherent rewards. What about the social aspect of work and school? I remember my children at around the age of eight or nine years old telling me their motivation or incentive to go to class wasn’t getting education – far from it. They were motivated to get up and out the door by the prospect of seeing their friends and playing with them, or doing something neat like a school trip, or being leader of the class for the day. Later in life, when we start working for a living, yes we need that pay cheque, but we also crave the social aspect of working with others. Most of our friends are cultivated from work or the work place, so we want to go there and interact with others.

Then there’s the motivation to succeed, to improve and to grow for it’s own sake. I know I personally am often motivated to do something because I enjoy the challenges, or the learning experience. Every time I take on a new project, I learn more about the subject matter, and about myself. When I travel, I love seeing the truth of the place beyond the commercial glitz (I’m not averse to commercial glitz and enjoy that too!). I love discovering neat little out of the way places, or talking to the locals. So, even though I’m terrified of alligators, I’ll hold a baby one (yep, me big chicken) and go to an alligator zoo to get up close and see the criters, because I’m motivated to learn and see something new.

That brings me to recognition. Most people also seek recognition of what they do, whether in the work place or on a personal level. Recognition can be as simple as a heart-felt “thank you” from a boss, coach or trainer, or it can be as elaborate as getting an all expenses paid vacation to a fabulous destination. In fact, experiential rewards top material merchanise or gift card ones by far, every single time.  Recognition can also come through fame; by attaining that level of notoriety whereby you are recognized by peers and the world at large for what you’ve accomplished, which can be it’s own motivator.

In fact, studies have shown that when employers recognize and reward their empoyees, the confidence in the company increases, production and sales increases and loyalty increases. Getting paid and just having a job aren’t enough to motivate people to do their best, to remain with a company, or strive to excel. When employers and managers see the value in those who work for them, and when teachers, coaches and trainers understand the true merit of incentives and rewards, then, and only then, will they see the kinds of performance they need to reach certain goals. I call this a “thoughtful team work approach”.

The fact is, people are motivated by a variety of factors. Each is as valid as the other, and every person is subject to his or her own motivators. Our jobs as human beings is to find what motivates us to change or do something proactive and use it to our best advantage. In fact, to borrow a military saying, “to be the best we can be”.

Question: What motivates you to achieve success or reach a goal, and how do you act on that motivation?

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Together, we make it easier

On Friday my publisher, Karen Syed of Echelon Press, sent out a group email. She was asking everyone what we could do as a team to help promote each other and our team of very talented authors (ahem, yep, me too).Within minutes and over the course of the next couple of days, scores of emails started coming in from our authors, each with their own ideas, input, suggestions, tips and tricks. It confirmed my own belief; that one can do much, but many can move mountains.

Along with the ideas and suggestions, many wrote to offer their expertise in areas they excel at, or actually perform for their day jobs. By tapping into this reservoir, the idea is to share the wealth of knowledge, and thereby all benefit. Of course we’re all incredibly busy. We have day jobs, kids, spouses, chores, extended family, outside obligations, vacations-in short, lives. But our goal is to lighten the marketing load and hopefully increase public awareness of our books, blogs and websites.

Writers tend to write in isolation. We sit hunched over our computers and put our imaginations to print, then share them with the world at large. It’s a daunting task, and a ton of work, but we do it because we love it. Some, because they feel they absolutely must write. The marketing and promotion side of selling a book is one we don’t take into much consideration until we’re in the thick of it, then we’re required to step up to a different plate and swing the bat. By helping each other and creating a team, we lend each other support, solace, advice, assistance, and maybe even a laugh here and there (much needed).

I’ve always been a believer in teamwork. It’s how I actually function best. It energizes me, makes me feel less alone, and sometimes, yes, appreciated. Writing is lonely work. Sharing the work helps.

I’ve been following a number of blogs as I ramp up to the release of my own book, In The Spirit Of Love, this Fall. I’ve discovered so many fabulous authors who really reach out to other new authors, such as Tonya Kappes, Shelley Lieber, and of course, our own Karen Syed, to name just a few. Each of these incredible women really tries to make a difference. It’s what this new Echelon group is trying to do; make a difference.

As we all move into the week ahead, I hope each of us is able to keep the motivation going, and share, share, share. See, I always did like playing in the sandbox. 🙂

Stay tuned for guest blogs, book reviews, etc. of our own Echelon authors and many others I discover along the way, as well as some industry insights and, hopefully, a little information sharing.

Question: As a reader, do you base your book buying (print or ebook) on reviews or suggestions from those you trust?

As a writer, what do you do to help spread the word about other authors whose work you’ve enjoyed?

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The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

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